Crap I Think of While Mowing the Lawn

Volume 12

(other than This Lawn Looks Like Crap)


Interesting, if not deep, thoughts often pop into my head while I’m doing battle with my lawn. And yes, I do battle with a non-gas, non-electric, old-fashioned push mower. An actual reel mower. And my mind tends to think of some semi-interesting crap while I push along.

Mower and Statesman


Welcome to Volume 12 of Crap I Think of While Mowing the Lawn.




I watched most of last Tuesday’s Major League Baseball All-Star Game, but kind of missed the manufactured sports controversy-of-the-week as it developed. If you also missed it, you didn’t miss anything of value.

Here is roughly what happened, if you’d like to know.

In the bottom of the first inning, National League starting pitcher Adam Wainwright (of the St. Louis Cardinals) took a step off the mound to allow the American League’s leadoff hitter, Derek Jeter, to soak in the sustained applause from the crowd – this being Jeter’s last year before retirement, also known as The Year of Jeter around Major League Baseball. Indeed, this year’s All-Star Game was also, largely, a showcase for the longtime Yankees captain.

When play commenced, Jeter slashed Wainwright’s second pitch into right field (his patented opposite-field stroke) for a double. The Cardinals ace’s task got even more severe. He now had to face the two best hitters on the planet. Mike Trout? Triple. Miguel Cabrera? Home run. Just that quickly, Wainwright walked off the mound having put his team in a 3-0 hole. Certainly, this was an aberration for the stalwart who many (including me) consider to be the best pitcher in the league not named Clayton Kershaw. But this was no big deal. Or was it?

Well, it shouldn’t have been, but it was. Are you confused? Shortly after being pulled after his one inning of largely ceremonial work, Wainwright implied (to many reporters) that he grooved a fastball down the middle, and kind of joked that he thought Jeter would either make an out or hit a single—not take him for extra bases. While the game was being contested, social media was buzzing: Was Wainwright trying to detract from Jeter’s moment?  Didn’t he know that the All-Star Game is a “real game” now?  Yes, ever since 2003—after the 2002 All-Star Game ended, embarrassingly, in a tie–MLB has used the Midsummer Classic to determine which league gets homefield advantage in the World Series. (A weird decision…but more on that shortly.)

Enter FOX Sports sideline reporter Erin Andrews, who apparently, was brought in to interview Wainwright so he could make some kind of retraction of his mostly innocuous comment that apparently incensed so many. The interview is here.

Within approximately 60 seconds, Andrews asked him what his initial reported comments were all about, and gave him time to explain (or retract, if you think he did) and apologize for taking any positive attention away from Derek Jeter. She then gently, sarcastically, threw it back to the broadcast team with the comment, “Isn’t social media great.”  From there, many used this as an opportunity to light into Andrews as being a horrible reporter, a no-talent bimbo, or worse.

Still confused?

Here are my quick (I hope) takes on:

The All-Star Game being used to determine homefield advantage in the World Series – Bad idea, and an overreaction by Commissioner Bud Selig (and all) to that infamous tied All-Star Game of 2002. With interleague play now here to stay, there is no real reason to go away from awarding homefield advantage to the team with the best overall record in Major League Baseball. Or, simply go back to alternating years between the two leagues. Now, it simply adds too much importance to a game that should be an exhibition. Yes, it wasn’t a good thing that people spent about four hours watching that 2002 game end up in a tie. Even exhibition ballgames should determine a winner and a loser. What is this: international soccer? Here’s an idea in case another All-Star Game becomes a tie because no pitchers are available. Have an impromptu home run derby to decide the game but, of course, NOT homefield advantage. It makes more sense than having a World Cup potentially decided by penalty kicks, doesn’t it? And that’s the biggest tournament of the sport, played every four years. This is just an annual exhibition, or should be.

Adam Wainwright – To those who tried to still spin it that he didn’t take the game seriously enough or somehow was undermining the sport in the process: Please put a cold towel on your forehead. Perhaps, Adam could’ve chosen his words better, but this was hardly an issue of national security or even an important baseball issue. As for Wainwright, he can pitch for my team any time (but won’t). I also think his apology to Jeter was sincere.

Derek Jeter – He handled this well, as he has almost everything in the last 20 years at the baseball center of the universe. No surprise there.

Bud Selig —  This isn’t really a Selig issue, but this all somehow connects to his decision to have this exhibition game count. As much as Jeter has gotten almost everything right, Selig has missed the boat on almost every policy and statement the last 22 years.

Sports Sideline Reporters – They are mostly an irrelevancy, but they only bother me when they take attention off of the game, itself. Often, they are used to provide injury updates in football, which does provide some good information. Alas, they seem to be here to stay.

Erin Andrews – She is probably the most visible sideline reporter, and generally she does her job pretty well. Did people really expect a Mike Wallace-type (do I need to update the analogy?) interview to break out mid-game during a quick 60-second interview? Not that you asked me, but she also handled that Richard Sherman postgame rant about as well as it could have been at the time. 

Social Media – Were people really upset that she gently attacked social media?! I have heard people say that this wasn’t a social media issue. Here’s why it was one. Wainwright’s initial comments would not have even been known about till the next day, or after the conclusion of the game, were it not for social media. The main difference between social media and waiting for the 11 pm news or the newspaper on the doorstep the next dawn is its immediacy.  Combine immediacy with a lack of perspective and/or an agenda to be the first and the loudest, and you get manufactured controversies.

Social media is not inherently evil, or even bad. It is, however, a form of media that is both powerful and misleading.

And now, it’s time for me to post this blog to Facebook, Google-plus, Twitter and Linkedin. Please feel free to read and share this and any other of my writings – preferably in their entirety.


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